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Halloween Safety Tips
by NTFD Chief Steve DeChellis


October 16, 2003
Thursday - 12:45 am

Ketchikan, AK - Most people think of Halloween as a time for fun and treats. However, roughly four times as many children ages 5-14 are killed while walking on Halloween evening compared with other evenings of the year, and falls are a leading cause of injuries among children on Halloween. Many Halloween-related injuries can be prevented if parents

 Cat's eyes...
closely supervise school-aged children during trick-or-treat activities.

Parents can help prevent children from getting injured on Halloween by following these safety tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the National Safety Council.

Children should:
1). Go only to well-lit houses and remain on porches rather than entering houses,
2). Travel in small groups and be accompanied by an adult,
3). Know their phone number and carry coins for emergency telephone calls,
4). Have their names and addresses attached to their costumes,
5). Bring treats home before eating them so parents can inspect them, and
6). Use costume knives and swords that are flexible, not rigid or sharp.

When walking in neighborhoods, children should:
1). Use flashlights, stay on sidewalks, and avoid crossing yards,
2). Cross streets at the corner, use crosswalks (where they exist). and do not cross between parked cars,
3). Stop at all corners and stay together in a group before crossing,
4). Wear clothing that is bright, reflective, and flame retardant,
5). Consider using face paint instead of masks (Masks can obstruct a child's vision),
6). Avoid wearing hats that will slide over their eyes,
7). Avoid wearing long, baggy, or loose costumes or oversided shoes (to prevent tripping), and
8). Be reminded to look left, right, and left again before crossing the street.

Parents and adults should ensure the safety of pedestrian trick-or-treaters:
1). Make sure children under 10 are supervised as they cross the street,
2) Drive slowly,
3). Watch for children in the street on medians,
4). Exit driveways and alleyways carefully, and
5). Have children get out of cars on the curb side, not on the traffic side.

And a few tips about pumpkins:
1). Carve pumpkins on tables, flat surfaces with good lighting,
2). Have children draw a face on the outside of the pumpkin, then parents should do the cutting, and
3). Place lighted pumpkins away from curtains and other flammable objects, and do not leave lighterd pumpkins unattended

Many parents overestimate children's street-crossing skills. The pedestrian skills of children are limited by several factors related to their physical size and developmental stage. for
instance, young children may lack the physical ability to cross a street quickly, and their small size limits their visibility to drivers. Children are likely to choose the shortest rather than the safest route across streets, often darting out between parked cars. In addition, young children do not evaluate potential traffic threats effectively, cannot anticipate driver behavior, and process sensory information more slowly than adults.

And, last but not least - Halloween Safety Tips for Pets and their Owners. According to the Director of Companion Animal Services, Ms. Jacque Schultz, some common-sense tips to protect your pet on Halloween are:

1). Don't leave your pet out in the yard on Halloween.
2). Trick-or-Treat candies are not for pets: Chocolate is poisonous to a lot of animals, and tin foil and cellophane candy wrappers can be hazardous if swallowed.
3). Be careful of pets around a lit pumpkin: Pets may knock it over and cause a fire. Curious kittens especially run the risk of getting burned.
4). Don't dress the dog in costume unless you know he loves it. Otherwise, it puts a lot of stress on the animal.
5). If you do dress up your dog, make sure the costume isn't constricting, annoying or unsafe. Be careful not to obstruct her vision. Even the sweetest dogs can get snappy when they can't see what's going on around them.
6). All but the most social dogs should be kept in a separate room during trick-or-treat visiting hours; too many strangers in strange garb can be scary for dog too.
7). Be careful your cat or dog doesn't dart oput through the open door.

While Halloween can be a fun time for people and pets alike, remember that your pets are depending on you to keep them safe from the more dangerous goblins and ghouls that this holiday brings.

Everyone at the North Tongass Fire Department wishes everyone a safe and happy Halloween. If you have any comments regarding this organization or if you would to become a Volunteer, either come by or call us at 247-5521.


Halloween graphics & music added by the Sitnews' webmaster...


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Ketchikan, Alaska